Back to Marvel, and back to the X-Men series again, as Victor Gischler takes over the writing duties again. I'm not really sure what to expect out of these two comic books, as they could range anywhere between awful and awesome... Well, let's give 'em a read and find out.
Daken: Dark Wolverine #12:
Summary: This issue gets started with Daken, still under the effect of the Heat drug, taking on Taskmaster, who had been hired to protect an armored car carrying millions and millions of dollars. Daken(who is hiding his identity and thus isn't using the claws) gets knocked around before Daken's allies open fire on Taskmaster, distracting him. Awesomely, Taskmaster deflects the bullets away with his shield before decapitating a bunch of the goons since he was sick of being shot at... HA! Daken fires a rocket at Taskmaster, but once again, Taskmaster manages to deflect the blast away with his shield before angrily slaughtering the rest of Daken's gang. By this point, the LAPD, as well as some media helicopters have arrived on the scene and Daken is outnumbered and outgunned... Which is exactly what Daken wanted. Daken makes a run for an assault rifle, dodging police bullets, but running smack-dab into Taskmaster, who impales Daken with his sword. With that, Daken collapses to the ground, and the game is over... Or is it?!? With the robbery “foiled”, Daken climbs out of one of the body bags he was put in, kills some cops and steals a police uniform, gaining access to the armored car and it's millions. Daken begins to fill his body bag with the money(HA! again) when he realizes that the wound Taskmaster inflicted on him earlier wasn't healing properly, almost definitely due to the Heat. Before he can figure out what to do about that mess, FBI Agent Kiel climbs into the armored car, gun drawn. It turns out Kiel came to the crime scene and checked the body bags, at which point she realized the numbers didn't add up, leading her to believe somebody with a healing factor must have been involved in the mayhem, in other words, Daken. Kiel demands to know why Daken was cutting people into little pieces all over LA, which surprises Daken, at least until it dawns on him that maybe he WAS responsible for the gruesome murders while under the influence of the Heat. Realizing something was wrong with him, Daken lashes out at Kiel, surprising her and knocking her out cold before retreating back to his home, where he takes another Heat pill, ending this one.
Thoughts: Okay, I'll just come right out and say it. Taskmaster MADE this issue!! Absolutely, positively, 100% made it. He was hilarious, awesome, homicidal, everything Taskmaster SHOULD be. After reading this issue, I'd be all for a Rob Williams penned Taskmaster series, because Williams obviously knows that character well... Unlike Daken... I'm STILL not sold on the whole, “Daken is addicted to drugs” storyline, because it just seems to go so counter to Daken's whole “always in control” characterization. From his beginnings, through Dark Avengers, to Dark Wolverine, Daken has always prided himself on being the guy in control, even if he wasn't. By remaining in control of his actions, he was proving himself better than his father, Wolverine, who was always flying off the handle, going into berserker style rages. I just don't like Daken's obsession with the Heat drugs... Overlooking that though, I did enjoy this comic, and loved the battle between Daken(and his goons) and Taskmaster. I don't think I could ever tire of Daken as a character, I like him that much, but this drug storyline is beginning to try my patience...
Score: 8 1/2 out of 10.In answer to that age old question, yes, Taskmaster IS awesome.
Summary: Moonstar, Lord Summers, Gambit, Storm and Pixie(That line-up and Pixie!? Really?!?) head to a town where they learn an old woman who had taken a bunch of demons into her soul to save her town many years ago was dying. The old woman's husband(a friend of Moonstar's grandfather) hands the X-Men a spell book, and is planning on sealing his soon-to-be dead wife in a small crypt, before placing a protective spell on the crypt, locking the demons inside. Before the team can decide on whether sealing the old woman away was the right move, the new BAD-ASS Ghost Rider arrives on the scene, claiming that there was sin in the town and that it had to be cleansed. While the X-Men are trying to figure out why the hell Ghost Rider was there and why Ghost Rider was now a woman(I'm STILL trying to figure that out...), the old woman dies and the demons emerge from the crypt. The X-Men attack the demons, but are unable to do them much harm, at which point Lord Summers blasts open a hole in the ground to(hopefully) contain the demons. BAD-ASS Ghost Rider tells Moonstar to get on the bike, at which point BAD-ASS Ghost Rider uses her chain to snag the demons, before driving into the hole to take them back to Hell. I'm not really sure why poor Moonstar had to get on the bike, but whatever I guess. After BAD-ASS Ghost Rider and Moonstar emerge from the hole, Lord Summers blasts it closed and Pixie seals it up with a magic spell. With all that taken care of, BAD-ASS Ghost Rider goes after the dead woman's husband and explains that it was his sin that drew her to the town, since he was the one who originally summoned the demons. The old man is sorry for his youthful mistakes, so BAD-ASS Ghost Rider allows him to go, provided he makes amends for his stupid acts. With that, BAD-ASS Ghost Rider drives off, leaving the X-Men to wonder what the HELL happened to Ghost Rider!!!
Thoughts: This was actually a fun little one and done story, even with that damn BAD-ASS Ghost Rider in it... I've got to admit, if BAD-ASS Ghost Rider wasn't in this one, I'd have probably enjoyed it way more, but even with her unwarranted involvement, we still got a pretty good story. Besides a good little story, the characterizations were good as well, as Lord Summers was written like he used to be, before he became the dictatorial asshole he is today. As a matter of fact, all of the X-characters were written well, something that has been sorely lacking in the X-books for the better part of 5 years now. With Victor Gischler back on board with this series, and that useless Chris Yost gone, I expect to be putting this series back onto my pull list. Here's hoping BAD-ASS Ghost Rider(and Yost...) stays far away from this series, and Gischler continues to bring good characterizations and strong stories.
Score: 8 1/2 out of 10.Take Pixie out of that group and you have THE X-Men line-up from the 90's!